Brit in Japan describes house shaking in quake

Joseph Tame
Image caption,Joseph Tame felt the earthquake from his home north of Tokyo

By Vanessa Pearce

BBC News, West Midlands

A man living hundreds of miles away from the epicentre of the Japan earthquake has described feeling his house shake and watching a building collapse live on television.

Joseph Tame, originally from Orcop near Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire, felt the quake from his home 320 miles (514 km) away, just north of Tokyo.

“The house that we’re in is about 40 years old and was shaking a fair bit,” he said.

“It was quite a shock,” he added.

“We saw an alert on the TV for what must have been one of the pre-shocks. Then suddenly all the alarms go off to warn you.

“As we were watching the TV the camera above where the epicentre was was shaking violently and then we saw a building collapse on the live report.”

Aftermath of earthquake
Image caption,The quake caused parts of a shrine to collapse

Tsunami warnings have been issued after the 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck the central region of the country.

Residents in the coastal Noto area in Ishikawa prefecture were urged to evacuate to higher ground.

“It’s not really over yet now because the earthquakes are continuing, we’re seeing a lot of aftershocks and who knows what could happen over the next 24 hours,” Mr Tame continued.

The businessman, who moved to Japan in 2008, said he had contacted a friend who lived very near the epicentre.

“He told me he, his partner and their cat first evacuated to the roof of their building because of the tsunami risk,” he said.

“But when they realised the earthquakes were continuing they realised they had to get off their building because it’s not strong enough so they moved to another building.

“He said it was shocking as the shaking is so violent.”

In 2011, the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Japan – with a magnitude of 9.0 – struck off the country’s eastern coast and triggered a tsunami which killed more than 18,000 people and wiped entire towns off the map.

“The thing that struck me watching it on TV is it brings back memories of 2011 when we had the huge tsunami, Mr Tame said.

“As I was watching it I could feel the tears in my eyes just remembering how appalling it was back then.

“We do feel a lot of earthquakes but not quite on this scale.”

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